The long anticipated decline in the growth of U.S.crude oil production is within sight and is already being priced into West Texas Intermediate. U.S. shale oil production has slowed dramatically in recent weeks as a result of ongoing rig count reductions. As a result, crude prices have continued to firm. Yesterday WTI closed with a modest gain at $52.10/bbl.
According to the EIA report issued on Monday, production in the Bakken formation will decline by nearly 60,000 barrels a day next month. Other major producing fields are also reflecting a significant slowdown in production. For example, the Eagle Ford oilfield in Texas is expected to see production contraction of 30,000 barrels a day next month as well.
This slowdown in production, coupled with a significant increase in refining capacity will alleviate one of the largest gluts of crude oil in U.S. history. The good news for U.S. consumers is that they have enjoyed sharply lower fuel costs. However and more importantly, the specter of $100/bbl fuel in the future is nearly non-existent, as a result of the enormous proven energy assets in several key formations, Eagle Ford, Bakken, Permian and others. The rigs that have been turned off line can be put back into production if prices merit it. In addition there are nearly 3,000 uncompleted wells that could supply energy well into the future if need be.
In short, the United States is not only on the verge of energy independence it is also assured of an uninterrupted supply of domestic crude oil for generations. For the first time in many Americans’ lives the price of crude will virtually immediately trigger online production and in the process place a ceiling on the price of that crude.No mention of renewable energy.
Most interesting: we are on the "verge" of energy independence, but with the Keystone XL we would have been completely free of the need for Mideast imports.